By Ashley Pooser
I recently celebrated a major victory. It felt monumental. I almost expected the world to pause on its axis to acknowledge my accomplishment.
I made my way home without using my GPS.
I know this may not seem like a big deal to most people, but having lived in the Atlanta area for only a year, the GPS on my phone is always on. Without it I would likely end up crossing the state line on my way to the grocery store.
When we first moved, every outing sent me into planning mode. A simple trip to the park found me researching my route, pulling it up on my phone, and familiarizing myself with all the street names. I like a plan. I feel more comfortable when I know what turns are ahead.
After getting stuck in a few of Atlanta’s infamous traffic jams, I tried a new GPS app. It offered real-time traffic updates and promised to keep me on the best route. It was perfect. The first time I used it, I pulled up my destination, studied the route, and got comfortable with the directions. I had my plan and away I went.
Halfway to the restaurant, the GPS lady told me to take a turn I wasn’t expecting. It wasn’t part of the original route. She led me into a subdivision, and I just knew it had to be wrong. None of my research included this route. As I continued down side streets, alleyways, and eventually a bumpy dirt road, I began to panic. I found myself arguing aloud with the GPS. I can only imagine how this might have looked to anyone next to me at a stop light, but surely this was some big joke. There was no reason to be cutting through a parking lot.
But then, after one more turn onto a road that sounded familiar, the restaurant was right there. When I pulled into the parking lot, I could see flashing lights in my rearview mirror. The GPS had rerouted me around a major traffic jam. Instead of fighting the new directions, I should have just trusted them.
So much of life is like this.
We make our plans and have expectations of the way our lives should go. Inevitably, though, the path takes a turn we didn’t expect. Whether it’s a job loss or a relationship challenge or a move to a new state, we might find ourselves resisting the change. This wasn’t the plan. This was unexpected. How could it possibly be for our good?
Much like when we travel the highways, we don’t have all the information. We can’t see the full picture. But we know the One who can. He designed our path for our good.
“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28 NIV).
God promises he is working all things together for our good. All the good things. All the bad things. All the times it seems the train has jumped the tracks. We can rest assured that change is never a surprise to the Creator of our path. He is there in every turn, every twist, and every detail.
When we reach our final destination, we will look back and see the eternal significance of our rerouted paths. May that promise comfort us as we navigate the unexpected turns in life.
Ashley Doyle Pooser is a wife and a mom of three. She recently moved to Atlanta, where she’s trying her best to be a responsible adult but feels like she’s mostly flying by the seat of her pants. She blogs at ashleydoylepooser.com.
Photograph © Vivian Chen, used with permission